MY BODY is a hand-stitched pamphlet book made with reproductive medical information sheets (MIS). These MIS covered prescription drugs for birth control, morning after, chemical abortion, male sexual dysfunction, menstruation, infertility, and menopause. I sought these sheets by advertising widely among friends, physicians, Facebook, Craigslist, NextDoor and even at swanky dinner parties where men of a certain age preside.
In all cases, those willing to give me their MIS wanted to be anonymous and I went on a scavenger hunt all over my neighborhood, picking up MIS in mailboxes, digging them out of watering cans left on top of stairs, pulling them out from behind screen doors, etc. Once the sheets were collected and bound, I painted female torsos and limbs with black gouache and rubber-stamped sperm on each page. The female bodies are depicted in wild abandon, sometimes pregnant, sometimes not. Their bodies express sexual and reproductive freedom that medical science affords. Tiny spermatozoa swim around the bodies, looking for a way in. On June 24, 2022 they breached the fortress, depriving many women the right to end pregnancy.
Women cannot be complacent with their hard-won rights and freedoms. Everyone must exercise their right to vote and to protest.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Priscilla Otani is a mixed media artist, curator, and owner of Arc Gallery in San Francisco. Her works explore the nuances of cultural misunderstandings between Japanese and Western cultures, particularly in the area of taboos, beliefs and myths. More recently her works have focused on American politics, particularly the extreme divide in belief systems among people. Her works have been selected in Bay Area, national and international exhibitions and included in numerous private collections. Otani has curated many local, national and international exhibitions. She was President of the National Women’s Caucus from 2013 – 2015 and currently serves on the President of the Board of Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art. Otani received her BA in Psychology and Asian Studies from Mills College in 1974 and MA in Japanese Literature from Columbia University in 1976. Born in Tokyo, Otani is a bi-cultural, naturalized United States citizen.
© Priscilla Otani